CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Mississippi State won its second extra inning game of the season Sunday night as the Baseball Bulldogs turned back Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4-2 in 10 innings in the final game of the Whataburger Classic.
The Bulldogs salvaged the final of four games played in this year's event. MSU split the final-day doubleheader as TAM-CC won the opener, 8-6. The Bulldogs snapped a three-game losing streak to move to 10-6 overall, while TAM-CC is now 8-7.
In Sunday's victory, Connor Powers hit the game-tying home run in the eighth inning. For Powers, it was his team-best eighth home run of the season but first in this tournament. In the tenth inning. Powers again started things with a leadoff walk. A wild pitch moved him to second base and a Cody Freeman single brought Powers home.
Jaron Shepherd drew a walk. Ryan Collins followed with an RBI-single plating a critical insurance score for the Maroon and White.
MSU pitching sparkled in the second game win. Caleb Reed threw 5.1 innings in relief of starter Luke Bole. Reed allowed three hits and no runs, with five strikeouts and no walks. Bole was touched for two runs in the TAM-CC first inning. Ben Bracewell threw two scoreless innings of relief, giving way to C.C. Watson.
Watson (2-0) got a critical double play ball to work the Bulldogs out of a tight spot in the ninth inning. The freshman left-hander worked around a two-out walk to retire the side and close out the victory in the tenth inning.
The Bulldogs finished with 10 hits. Freeman led the way with three hits, while Powers had his 10th multi-hit game of the season. Jonathan Ogden also had two hits.
The Islanders finished with six hits. Chris Vergne had two hits for TAM-CC.
In the opener, a three-run ninth inning was not a big enough rally.
The Islanders took advantage of three MSU errors to build a 6-1 lead in the top half of the fifth inning. The Bulldogs rallied with a pair of runs in the home half of the fifth inning and three more scores in the ninth inning.
In the ninth inning, pinch hitter Wes Thigpen started things with a leadoff single. Nick Vickerson then drew a walk. Luke Adkins reached as a hit batsman loading the bases. Connor Powers then popped up on the infield.
Cody Freeman followed with a two-run single and Jet Butler had an RBI-single. Back-to-back popups closed out the contest as the Bulldogs stranded the potential game-tying runs on the bases.
MSU finished with 11 hits. Adkins, Freeman, Butler and Ryan Duffy all had multiple hits. Duffy hit his second home run of the season in the second inning.
Trey Hernandez had three RBIs for the Islanders, who finished with 13 hits.
Starting pitcher Devin Jones (1-1) worked 4.1 innings and took the loss. Jones allowed seven hits and six runs (four earned), with two strikeouts and two walks. Chad Girodo and Greg Houston worked in relief.
For the Bulldogs, Powers and Collins were named to the all-tournament team.
The Bulldogs host Mississippi Valley State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.